Ketchikan’s rich history and scenic beauty on view
The birthplace of our community is Ketchikan Creek, located in the heart of downtown. Our earliest visitors, Tlingit natives, set up summer fish camps along its shores. The City of Ketchikan was established in 1900 due to the commercial fishing industry’s discovery of our salmon rich waters. Ketchikan Creek’s shoreline bends and curves past Creek Street, a wooden boardwalk named one of the country’s top ten by USA Today. Beginning in the prohibition era, buildings on the creek housed bordellos. Today restaurants, museums, galleries and gift shops are popular stops along the creek.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show showcases the skill of woodsmen competing against each other in events like log rolling and tree-climbing. Next door, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is an outstanding interpretive facility highlighting the commercial, recreational and cultural significance of the Tongass National Forest.
The Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center is an educational look at Alaska’s salmon hatchery program and showcases raptors and other birds that have been rescued and are being rehabilitated. Just across the creek, is the Totem Heritage Center. Its collection of 19th century totem poles, rescued from abandoned native villages is listed on the National Historic Register. The center, established in 1976 now preserves these cultural treasures that would have been lost to natural deterioration.
South of town, Saxman Native Village shares a glimpse into the traditions of the Tlingit culture. The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary combines a walk through the rainforest and shoreline area with an overview of early timber operations in the area. A few miles further south, the George Inlet Cannery tour offers an historical perspective of the fishing industry as visitors walk through the site’s original buildings and display of equipment used in the 1940s.
Heading north along the Tongass Highway, a visit to Potlatch Park and the Totem Bight State Park will further enhance your knowledge of the traditions and culture of our Native peoples.